From the White House with anger: Conversational features in President Trump's official communication

Antonio Reyes, Andrew Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper decodes the compositional features of President Trump's letter to Speaker of the House – Democrat Nancy Pelosi – published on December 17, 20191, on White House stationery, regarding his possible impeachment. This unprecedented document provoked a viral reaction in the media due to the language the president used in its configuration. This study adapts Koven's (2002, 2007) tripartite model of role-perspective for the analysis of written texts, in particular a formal document utilizing the White House letterhead. This role perspective model allows us to account for Trump's positioning in relation to the facts and events discussed (Narrator) to his audience or addressee (Interlocutor) and in relation to the voices quoted (Character). This paper explains the linguistic and non-linguistic resources employed by Trump, under different roles, that constitute interactional features creating a conversational setting in a formal letter. Simultaneously, those semiotic resources underline personality traits that characterized Trump's message, the idiosyncrasies of his language (“lingual biography”), and the particularities of his “Trumpian” communication style.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalLanguage and Communication
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


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